Giant Earwigs

Male (left) and female (right) Common or European Earwigs. This is a garden pest accidentally introduced into North America in 1907. It seems to like it here.   

Earwig in threat posture. They also use the pincers for capturing prey, grooming, sorting and cleaning their eggs and courtship. A multipurpose tool in a single package.

Most people think that earwigs don’t have wings. That is because they are neatly folded and hidden beneath the leathery forewings. Despite having wings, earwigs are inept in flight and seldom fly.   

No! This is not a common occurrence. There are very, very few records of earwigs entering anybody’s ears. The commonest auditory invders are said to be cockroaches. Hoever, it was beetle that got stuck in John Hannay Speke's year when he was exploring the source of the River Nile.


World-wide there are about 1200 species of earwigs. This colorful dude comes from the Western Ghats, a mountain range in India.


This common brown earwig of Australia belongs to the same genus, Labidura, as the Giant Earwig of St. Helena. It is a more typical earwig size.


The Giant Earwig of St. Helena is now extinct. It reached about four inches in length and was much too heavy to fly. There is no evidence of group sex but male earwigs in this family (Labiduridae) are equiped with two penes -- th's the correct plural for "penises".